The whole point of a neighborhood watch is to protect those who live around you, but a family living inside a gated Florida community is finding that that protection only goes so far once race and prejudices come into play.
Last month, 17-year-old Miami resident Trayvon Martin was visiting his father and stepmother in Sanford, FL, where they live at The Retreat at Twin Lakes. One night, while taking a break from watching NBA All-Star Game coverage, Trayvon walked to the convenience store 10 minutes away to pick up snacks for him and his little brother but he never made it home because he was shot dead.
Although names on the police report have been blocked out, Ben Crump, the family’s lawyer, said that while Trayvon walked home, Neighborhood Watch Captain George Zimmerman placed a call to 911 to report a “suspicious person.” Taking matters into his own hands, the captain approached the teenager, and by the time police officers arrived, Trayvon was dead on the ground from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
Police have ignored the family’s request for a copy of the original 911 call, and they are fearful that officers might consider the killing self-defense, although as Crump points out, Trayvon was totally unarmed.
“What do the police find in his pocket? Skittles. A can of Arizona ice tea in his jacket pocket and Skittles in his front pocket for his brother Chad,” he said.
Today, the family is planning on issuing a call for George Zimmerman’s arrest at a news conference, saying race is the only factor that led to the killing of their son who was a junior in high school and planned to go to school to become a pilot.
Race is “the 600 pound elephant in the room,” the lawyer said. “Why is this kid suspicious in the first place? I think a stereotype must have been placed on the kid.”
It’s amazing that this man hasn’t been arrested already.
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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